Vegan Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust (GF)

By Jessica Hylton - - Updated
These Vegan Lemon Bars are a dessert dream come true! Made with shortbread crust and loaded with divine lemon flavour, you’ll never guess that they are vegan!
A stack of vegan lemon bars on a white table.

Can you believe that summer is about to end?! What way to end summer than with these beautiful, sunny Vegan Lemon Bars? Friends – you’re in for a real treat.

These Vegan Lemon Bars aka lemon squares (what do you call them?) have been highly requested by you guys. I mean – I’ve been getting ENDLESS requests for vegan lemon bars almost since I began Jessica in the Kitchen. After making them myself, I finally understand why.

Top down view of vegan lemon bars on a white table.

These vegan lemon bars are DIVINE! I mean, lemon desserts are my absolute favourite, so clearly I’m a bit biased. Apart from that though, I’m talking these are bright, tart, sweet, perfect little treats. It’s the perfect mix of tart and sweet so if you like either, you’ll love these (and you can add more of the other for your taste too). Not only are these perfect for summer, they’re perfect for the entire year. Definitely the kind of dessert that belongs on your dessert bar, right beside my pumpkin cheesecake brownies.

My ultimate mission for these bars was to ensure they didn’t “taste vegan.” Hear me out. I don’t think many things “taste vegan” and I usually hate that phrase but man, I’ve had quite a few vegan cheesecakes that fall apart seconds out of the freezer. For a cheesecake lover, that was a no go for me. Then I had a vegan cheesecake that was pretty much perfect and had the exact same texture and taste (mind-blown) as the cheesecake I grew up with. That inspired me to ensure that you could put these beside lemon bars made with traditional ingredients and not be able to taste the difference.

Mission accomplished.

Overhead shot of vegan lemon bars on a white board.

The texture of these is spot on, and so is the taste. I especially love that bright beautiful colour. It brightens up beautifully when you bake it, and looks like a little bit of sunshine. It’s also the reason why I knew I wanted to make shortbread crust for these, since it’s the crust I used to always have with lemon bars. They are the perfect addition to the sweet lemon-y flavour. Tender, crisp and so addictive.

Let’s talk ingredients! I wanted it to be easy and that you didn’t have to use three kinds of sugar, so I included maple syrup into the crust too. P.s. I love the organic powdered sugar since it helps to clean this unrefined and still amazing.

A stack of three lemon bars surrounded by other bars.

I know it’s hard but these need to be fully set before you cut into them. Trust me. When I made them, I let them cool for a few hours and then set in the fridge overnight, although 4 hours in the fridge should be enough time. They’ll have the right consistency and be even more delectable. Trust me – it’ll be worth it! Enjoy, friends!

A pinterest pin of vegan lemon bars.

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Three vegan lemon bars stacked on top of each other, surrounded by more bars.

Vegan Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust (GF)

These Vegan Lemon Bars are a dessert dream come true! Made with shortbread crust and loaded with divine lemon flavour, you’ll never guess that they are vegan!
by: Jessica in the Kitchen
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 36 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Course Desserts
Cuisine American


  • 1 cup gluten free baking flour 148g
  • 2 tablespoons 30mL maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil +1 extra tablespoon if it looks too dry

Lemon Filling

  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews (148g), soaked in hot water for at least 1 hour
  • ¾ cup coconut cream from a tin of coconut cream or milk the thick creamy part, NOT the coconut water*
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch 30g
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup maple syrup 60mL + 1 tablespoon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • teaspoon of sea salt
  • or ¼ teaspoon of turmeric for colour
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest



  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.
  • Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper, so that the paper hangs over the side for easy removal.
  • Mix all of the crust ingredients together with a spatula or your hands, until it sticks together. Press evenly into the baking dish. You can use a spoon or the bottom of a measuring cup to help you. It'll seem a bit sticky because of the maple syrup. Add the extra tablespoon of oil if it is too dry.
  • Bake for 10 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before adding the batter for the lemon filling on top.

Lemon Filling

  • In a high powered blender, add all of the lemon filling ingredients. For the turmeric, start with ⅛ teaspoon then add more if you desire (it doesn't add any taste, only colour).
  • Blend all of the ingredients together until the mixture is very smooth. If you're not using a high powered blender, blend another time to ensure all of the cashew pieces are completely blended. Taste test, and adjust if necessary
  • Once the crust has cooled, pour the filling on top. Tap on the counter lightly to remove any bubbles.
  • Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, until the centre is set. Allow to cool on the counter until completely cooled (about an hour), and then place in the fridge for at least 4 hours to set.
  • Top with powdered sugar (optional), cut into bars, and serve. Enjoy!!
*If you can’t find coconut cream, add 1 can (14 ounces) full fat coconut milk, in the fridge overnight. After being refrigerated overnight, turn the can upside down and and pour out the coconut water liquid on top. Then scoop the solids of the coconut cream out of the jar. They should come up to about ¾ cup every time from a 14 ounce can.


Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 20mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg
by Jessica

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  1. Shilpa says:

    Do you have any shortbread crusts that doesn’t use coconut oil? I hate the taste of coconut oil and am very sensitive even to a small amount.

  2. Anna says:

    Love it! I would use potato starch to reduce the calories💜


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